The Best Directors

With a scheduled event, the UCLA Gallery party, from 2:30-6:30 pm, Phillip and I were able to choose a film for the morning and the evening. We chose to attend the Q&A screening of Alexander Payne’s new film Nebraska at the Palm. Following the black-and-white comedy was a Q&A with Alexander Payne and Bruce Dern. The director and lead actor were greeted with a standing ovation as the film was nothing short of spectacular. Bruce Dern gives the performance of his career and Alexander Payne continues to connect with audiences providing the perfect balance of laughs and tears. Jason Reitman, a hero of mine, led the Q&A. I thoroughly enjoyed their responses. Some were more emotional than others, and thus triggering some watery eyes.

After the film, Phillip and I had time to grab some lunch and change into our Event clothes before working the UCLA Gallery Party. The party consisted of wine, beer, Moscow Mules, and sushi. Once the party cleared out, we were able to start eating and drinking ourselves and managed to get out of the Gallery fairly early.

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The King of Linens

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A Stella and a Moscow Mule

After dinner at the clubhouse, we proceeded to the Palm for Jason Reitman’s Labor Day. I have to admit, I was feeling an equal mixture of two emotions: nervous and excited. I have always been a fan of his work, but this was his first departure from the comedy genre. Jason Reitman always manages to work with some of my favorite artists and this time it was no different. Kate Winslet is the star of this film. There wasn’t a dry eye in the theater and the only complaint I have for the film were elements of the story, based on a book of the same name by Joyce Maynard. However, I was impressed with Reitman’s storytelling (if that even makes sense). I loved the production design and I loved the little boy.

Back to the condo earlier than the previous night, Phillip and I sat outside on our patio and enjoyed the stars as we did our own research on the announced sneak previews: Prisoners and 12 Years a Slave. We decided on Prisoners, which meant that we needed to be standing in line at the Palm by 7:30am.

Nebraska Bruce Dern gives the performance of his career and we see a return from June Squibb, who has previously appeared in another Alexander Payne film About Schimdt. Will Forte joins the cast and we are taken on a father/son road trip with these lovable characters. Payne succeeds in bringing his audience a quirky story filled with both laughs and tears. The best adjective to use when describing this journey is delightful. A-

Labor Day Jason Reitman adapts Joyce Maynard’s novel Labor Day in this romantic tale of isolation and finding love in expected places. Narrated by Tobey Maguire, we follow Kate Winslet’s quest for love and acceptance through the eyes of her young son. Josh Brolin, an escaped prisoner offers her a chance at starting over together… if they can outsmart the police. Powerfully performed by the cast, Labor Day leaves the audience with a feeling of hope at the film’s end. B

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